The Opposition View: Carlisle United

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 23 February 2017

Did you think the season would go as well as it has done so far and do you think you will end up winning promotion automatically?

I hoped that at this stage we would be in with a chance of automatic promotion, but I expected us to be one of a larger group of teams in the shake-up, to be in third place and with a cushion is much better than I could have hoped for.

I think I'll have a clearer idea of if we will go up automatically after this game, at the moment I'm not sure, we've had a really rocky spell and need to show we've bounced back properly.

Pompey were linked with Jamie Proctor before he signed for Carlisle. How has he performed for your team?

Early signs have been encouraging and some have even described him as an upgrade on Charlie Wyke, who we lost to Bradford. Wyke was on fire earlier in the season but Proctor has more experience and physical presence. He has two goals from his three games and is clearly someone who knows where the goal is.

Who are the players who have emerged as they key performers for the Cumbrians this season?

The most important part of our team this season has been the midfield pairing of Jones and Joyce and we suffered hugely when Jones was out injured in the new year. Joyce came in for a lot of stick last season but looks very comfortable playing alongside Jones. Another key player who we're currently still missing has been Jason Kennedy whose uncanny ability to pop up in the right place to score has saved us many points.

What are the biggest strengths and weaknesses of this Carlisle side?

Our main strength is scoring goals. Besides the departed Wyke and injured Kennedy; Ibehre, Lambe and Shaun Miller have all shown they can convert the chances we create. Our main weakness though is at the other end where we don't do the simple things well at all and allow our opponents to create lots of chances against us, often completely preventable chances.

What kind of match can we expect at Brunton Park on Saturday?

Games at Brunton Park this season have been high-scoring and end-to-end. Less about containing opponents and more about outscoring them. I think the Pompey game will be similar though we have gotten though a period of true chaos while Jones was out injured and at least have some of our shape back.

Given the context of the season, is a draw a good result for you and would you take a draw before the game?

Portsmouth are a good team and we should consider a draw to be an acceptable result, however in the context of hanging on to that last automatic place we can't really be satisfied with a point and if offered one before the game I would turn it down and say go for all three.

Predict the outcome of the game.

I think it'll finish 2-2. Proctor scoring at least one of our goals.

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